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CD content quality, or am I being picky.

Woodchippie

New member
Oct 16, 2012
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I listen to a wide range of new and old music. I have a new rega Dac,(not run in yet) admitted. I am a bit frustrated with some CDs

i listen to. I thought they would all sound good, but I find certain artists music sounds a bit mushy when there's a lot going on?

For example Elbow sounds great with every album, but Mumford and sons Babel album have parts that sounds messy.

Is my amp at fault? Cambridge Azur 540. Do you think I would benefit from Rega brio amp.

Or is it a case of poor quality recording of CDs?
 

Thompsonuxb

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Feb 19, 2012
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Now thats an interesting question.

While I don't want to drag the old chestnuts out - this is were them there interconnects do make a difference, your kit is budget so every little helps, I suggest you invest in a pair of QED performance 2 interconnects - about 40quid and see if you hear a difference.

Although they have lost a star (mysteriously) they are good at seperation of the strands in music & not as aggressive as the chord crimson plus imo, but interconnects and if possible Bi-wireing your speakers may help.
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
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Woodchippie said:
I listen to a wide range of new and old music. I have a new rega Dac,(not run in yet) admitted. I am a bit frustrated with some CDs

i listen to. I thought they would all sound good, but I find certain artists music sounds a bit mushy when there's a lot going on?

For example Elbow sounds great with every album, but Mumford and sons Babel album have parts that sounds messy.

Is my amp at fault? Cambridge Azur 540. Do you think I would benefit from Rega brio amp.

Or is it a case of poor quality recording of CDs?
Have you listened to these recordings on other equipment? Until you do that I don't see how you can tell if there is any failings with your equipment. If they sound great on other equipment then it is possible that your equipment is letting you down or it could be that your equipment is so good it is revealing inadequacies in the recordings.

That is surely your first step.

Chris

PS I don't know these recordings. Are they generally thought / reviewed as being top notch?
 

Woodchippie

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Oct 16, 2012
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Thanks for your inputs so far.


I have ripped Mumford and sons Babel CD to my PC Apple Lossless, this afternoon.

Surprisingly the separation seems better, I have a Soundblaster Recon 3D and some Logitech 5.1 speakers.

I am using QED RCA cables and Chord Carnival SilverScreen Speaker Cable on HiFi.

Also when playing through sennheiser haedphones on HIFI via Rega Ear Headphone amp still sounds like speakers, mushy and bad separation, that would narrow down to amp I guess?
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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Woodchippie said:
Thanks for your inputs so far.


I have ripped Mumford and sons Babel CD to my PC Apple Lossless, this afternoon.

Surprisingly the separation seems better, I have a Soundblaster Recon 3D and some Logitech 5.1 speakers.

I am using QED RCA cables and Chord Carnival SilverScreen Speaker Cable on HiFi.

Also when playing through sennheiser haedphones on HIFI via Rega Ear Headphone amp still sounds like speakers, mushy and bad separation, that would narrow down to amp I guess?
It may well be just grotty recordings. I find on my system that poor recordings sound a little mechanical, but you'll need to test your theory by listening to a different amp. I wouldn't say cables: SilverScreen is a superb strand of spaghetti, likewise QED interconnects tend to be a little bass-light.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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The Cambridge 540A could sound a bit messy a times. Personally I suspect it is a combination of the recording quality and the amp and, although a better amp won't hide the deficiencies in recordings, something like the Rega Brio-R or even a Marantz PM6004 would be better at controlling more complex textures.

The only way to be sure is to do some auditioning.
 

shafesk

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Sep 18, 2010
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Hi there, unfortunately not all cds are well recorded and the better your gear the more you start noticing it. You have a good amp, granted not quite in the same league as the Rega Dac but it is good by most measures...as long as its driving your speakers properly I think its doing a good job. I think what you are looking for is a good listen no matter what cd you put in, in that case I think the Rega Brio is the perfect candidate.
 

6th.replicant

Well-known member
Oct 26, 2007
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Perhaps the OP is merely experiencing different eras of CD/digital mastering?

To my ears, all pre-1996/'98 CDs sound markedly different compared to later material. Which, I think, reflects the advent of 24-bit mastering, and re-mastering, and higher levles of bass EQ?

Also, Elbow, for example, always strive to limit their recordings' compression - see the The Seldom Seen Kid sleeve notes re the band's allegiance to the Turn Me Up!™ campaign.

Perhaps Mumford et al use max compression, which IME makes a recording sound 'mushy'?
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Yes, the amp and the CD mastering is the culprit here I suspect. The money you'll spend on cables would be better off going towards another amplifier. Get one with a decent power rating, a good high current, decent damping factor and take it from there. I used QED Qunex 2s for years and they're fine. Bass was never an issue, and neither was the rest of the frequency range.

Check out the likes of Yamaha's AS700, which is a very underrated amp, predates the brighter AS500 but is the better amp for it. Or Harman Kardon's HK980, both offer good power options, decent specs, there's no onboard DAC, but both have reviewed well. I daresay the Yammy is perhaps the better of the two options, but they're both worth checking out.

The issue with your discs is going to be the same across the board. No two albums are produced or mastered in the same way, so having a system that can cope with that breadth of change between discs is one objective you'd probably want to prioritise. Do you want to focus on neutrality (no system is, but you can get components that make a better fist of it overall than others), or a neat balance across bass/mid/treble....and so on.
 

Woodchippie

New member
Oct 16, 2012
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Thanks guys, for your comments. I think I will be upgrading, the Rega brio seems a good choice. Will be going for demo soon.

Regards John
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
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Before spending money - have a little look at your speaker toe in.

sometimes if the speakers are not toed in enough you hear sounds but they are not clear and it ends up sounding messy

Correct toe in can allow the image to take shape properly - start by pointing the speakers directly at you - see how that sounds ;)

Sounds may come more direct from the speakers but don't worry about that - concentrate on the centre image strength and overall clarity.

Also consider where you sit in relation to where the speakers are - the distance you are away / the distance they are apart - you want that equal if possible.

Recordings are blamed way too much - the finger needs to point the other way. People forget that a cd is mastered in a studio environment with very differing acoustic properties to your listening room. Good vs Bad

Therefore I bet you in that studio it sounded ok (better than think) as it would if played back in a similar environment - this is what needs to be mimicked at home best we can. S
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Recordings need to shoulder an ample share of the blame. Overly compressed, limited to death and overly bright allied to many contemporary hifi components which also veer towards brightness can make the listening experience a poor one. No, it's fair to highlight badly produced and mastered albums and what options exist to mitigate that.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
your system looks alright to me, im also of the opinion interconnects make a big change...i use a dac magic which gives me detail in bucketloads, have you tried copying to a cdr and playing that instead? sometimes when you go up the hifi ladder you need to accomodate a different ear for listening. as the revealing layers of music start sounding quite different to what they did before....my interconnects between pre amp and power amp cost more than all my system put together...i changed them over last week for something to do...my hifi sounded horrible!
 

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